Prestoea acuminata (Willd.) H.E.Moore, Gentes Herb. 9: 286 (1963)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Boliviapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Colombiapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Costa Ricapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Dominican Republicpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Ecuadorpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Haitipresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Leeward Is.present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Nicaraguapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Panamápresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Puerto Ricopresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Trinidad-Tobagopresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Venezuelapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Windward Is.present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B


  • Three varieties of this species are recognised. The Ecuadorean plants belong to var. acuminata which is wide spread in Central American mountains and in the Andes. (Borchsenius F., Borgtoft-Pedersen H. and Baslev H. 1998. Manual to the Palms of Ecuador. AAU Reports 37. Department of Systematic Botany, University of Aarhus, Denmark in collaboration with Pontificia Universidad Catalica del Ecuador)A
  • This is the largest species in the genus, and it is often a conspicuous component of montane forests in Central America and the Andes. Plants from the Antilles have cylindrical rachillae which are glabrous or rarely with a few crustose hairs. Read (1979) reported stellate hairs on specimens from Dominica. Inflorescences are more corymbose than those from mainland populations, and triads are superficial on the rachillae. Antillean specimens also have slightly larger fruits. In general, Antillean populations are more homogeneous than those from the mainland and occur at lower elevations, usually below 1000 m. We recognize them as var. montana, based on the above differences.
    A few collections from high elevations in the northeastern Andes have very large, almost ellipsoid fruits, with large, persistent perianths. We recognize these as var. dasystachys.
    Specimens from Central and South America have angular rachillae with either crustose or flexuous hairs, although occasionally both hair types occur together. Rarely rachillae are glabrous. Inflorescences are more elongate, and triads are slightly sunken in the rachillae. Populations usually occur above 1000 m. We recognize this widespread form as var. acuminala. The presence of a partial crownshaft is usually consistent in this variety, but occasionally populations are found with plants with and without partial crownshafts, and these latter forms resemble P. ensiformis. (Gloria Galeano & A. Henderson, Flora Neotropica Monograph 72)C


  • Understorey palm. Stems clustered, to 10 m tall, and 10 cm in diameter. Leaf sheaths partially closed, forming a crown shaft, this purple in mature palms; blade 1-2.5 m long; pinnae 30-80 on each side, below with brown scales on the midrib, terminally abrubtly narrowing into 3-5 cm long filamentous point, the central ones 60-100 cm long and 4-7 cm wide. Inflorescence with peduncle 3-20 cm long; rachis 40-80 cm long; branches 20-120, 20-70 cm long. Flower buds lilac. Fruits black, globose, 10-12 mm in diameter. Seedling leaves bifid. (Borchsenius F., Borgtoft-Pedersen H. and Baslev H. 1998. Manual to the Palms of Ecuador. AAU Reports 37. Department of Systematic Botany, University of Aarhus, Denmark in collaboration with Pontificia Universidad Catalica del Ecuador)A
  • Stems solitary or cespitose and then with 2-12 stems per plant, erect or slightly leaning, (3-)6-15 m tall, 4-20 cm diam., usually gray with lichens, often with a cone of roots visible at the base.
    Leaves 4-10, spreading or erect; sheath closed for 1/3-½ its length and forming a partial crownshaft, 26-80(-108) cm long, green, dark green, purplish, violet, or reddish brown, densely to moderately covered with appressed, brown, fimbriate scales; petiole 0-30(-60) cm long, densely whitish brown tomentose adaxially, usually glabrous abaxially, glabrescent; rachis (0.6-)1.1-2.6 m long, with tomentum like that of petiole; pinnae 30-60 per side, regularly spaced and stiffly spreading in the same horizontal plane, seldom erect, subopposite or alternate, linear-lanceolate, coriaceous, with prominent midvein adaxially and abaxially and with several prominent lateral veins, the midvein with ramenta abaxially; basal pinna 39-69 x 0.5-2 cm; middle pinnae (0.3-)0.6-1.2 m x (2-)3-6.5 cm; apical pinna 13-34 x 0.5-2.5 cm.
    Inflorescences corymbose, infrafoliar at anthesis; peduncle 3-20 cm long, 1-3(-4) cm diam. at peduncular bract scar, terete or slightly dorsiventrally compressed; prophyll 23-51 cm long, 4-6(-12) cm diam.; peduncular bract 63-98 cm long including a 3 cm long umbo, to 6(-12) cm diam., almost terete, often with other incomplete bracts present distally; rachis (17-)40-85 cm long; rachillae 23-117, 18-74 cm long proximally, 9.5-23 cm long distally, to 6 mm diam. in fruit, each subtended by a small bract or sometimes the proximal few rachillae with bracts to 6 cm long, almost glabrous or typically with scattered to numerous short crustose or granular hairs, occasionally intermixed with a few longer, flexuous, branched hairs or sometimes with a dense covering of branched hairs; flowers in triads proximally, paired or solitary staminate distally; triad bracteole low, apiculate; first flower bracteole obscure, second and third flower bracteoles ± equal, apiculate, 0.3-0.5 mm long; staminate flowers 4-6 mm long, either sessile or on short, flattened pedicels; sepals deltate to narrowly triangular, 1.5-2.5 mm long, gibbous; petals ovate or lanceolate, 3-5.5 mm long, white or pink with purple apex; stamens arranged on a short receptacle; filaments 1.5- 2.5 mm long, flattened; anthers 2-3.5 mm long; pistillode 2-3 mm long, trifid at apex; pistillate flowers 2.5-4 mm long; sepals shallowly triangular or depressed-ovate, 2-4 mm long; petals shallowly triangular to depressed ovate, 2-4 mm long; staminodes deltate or digitate.
    Fruits globose, rarely ovoid or obovoid, 1-1.2(-1.8) cm diam., the stigmatic remains lateral; epicarp purple-black, sparsely and minutely tuberculate; seeds globose, 0.8-1.4 cm diam.; endosperm ruminate; eophyll bifid. (Gloria Galeano & A. Henderson, Flora Neotropica Monograph 72)C

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